Noontime Sports The Podcast: Episode Seven (James Bakers | @ITHuddLLe)

Noontime Sports Podcast

By NoontimeSports.com 

Noontime Sports the Podcast returned this week as James Baker from @ITHuddLLE joined Matt Noonan to chat about the opening month of NCAA Division III Football, specifically the New England region.

Baker gave his ‘two-cents’ on Western New England, Husson and multiple New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) schools, while he and Noonan also shared their excitement for Plymouth State, which is off to its best start since 2007.

New England D3 Football Notebook: Plymouth State Improves To 4-0, Matches 2007 Start

Plymouth State's David Hamilton rushed for his third touchdown in his career as the Panthers defeated UMass Dartmouth on Saturday. (Photo Credit: Plymouth State)

Plymouth State’s David Hamilton rushed for his third touchdown in his career as the Panthers defeated UMass Dartmouth on Saturday. (Photo Credit: Plymouth State)

By Matt Noonan 

It’s been nine years since Plymouth State’s football team commenced its campaign with four-straight wins, but earlier today the Panthers matched their start from 2007 as they defeated UMass Dartmouth, 30-14.

With the win, the Panthers – now 4-0 overall – improve to 2-0 in Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) play.

Plymouth State sophomore quarterback Zack Edwards highlighted his team’s fourth consecutive victory, tossing a pair of touchdowns to bump his season total to seven.

First-year tailback David Hamilton reached the end zone for the third time this season – he finished the contest with 64 yards on 15 carries, while junior defensive back Blair Zentek registered a pair of interceptions with one of his picks resulting in a 91-yard touchdown return.

The Panthers return to the gridiron next Saturday, October 1 when they visit Westfield State for a 2:00 p.m. kick-off.

Endicott College snapped its three-game losing streak, defeating Nichols College on Homecoming Weekend by a score of 37-0. Junior fullback Lavante Wiggins rushed for a pair of scores, while senior wide-out Chris Lipscomb caught two touchdown passes – he finished the day with three catches for 88 yards.

Salve Regina bumped its record to 3-0 overall and 1-0 in New England Football Conference (NEFC) play as the Seahawks soared past Coast Guard Academy, 48-10. Senior halfback Sam Pascale rushed for a season-high four touchdowns, along with a season-best 226 yards on 21 carries.

In Amherst, the Purple and White commenced their New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) title defense by defeating Hamilton College, 34-0. Senior quarterback Alex Berluti completed 17 of 27 passes for 182 yards and one touchdown, while classmate Devin Boehm hauled in seven catches for 113 yards and one score. Sophomore tailback Jack Hickey rushed for a trio of scores and finished the day with 67 yards on 18 carries.

Also in NESCAC play, Middlebury College commenced its campaign with a 40-3 thrashing against Bowdoin College. Junior quarterback Jared Lebowitz accounted for six touchdowns, including five through the air with two of them landing in the hands of senior wide-out James Burke.

New England D3 Football: It’s All About Having A Great Day At Amherst College

Amherst College's football team is focused on having a great day every day. (Photo Credit: Amherst College)

Amherst College’s football team is focused on having a great day every day. (Photo Credit: Amherst College)

By Matt Noonan 

E.J. Mills has one goal for his Amherst College football team: have a great day.

Having a ‘great day’ maybe the rallying cry behind the Purple and White’s recent success as Amherst has won a quartet of New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) crowns since 2009.

In 2013, the Purple and White shared the crown with Middlebury College and Wesleyan University.

Two years later – last season to be exact – Amherst clinched its seventh perfect season in program history, finishing its slate 8-0 for the second consecutive season. Their win against rival Williams College – a 17-7 victory – extended the Purple and White’s winning streak to 19 games, which dates back to October 26, 2013.

“The biggest goal (for us) is to win the day and if we spend time worrying about Hamilton or Trinity (College) … that won’t help us, so we just have to stay focused and have a great day,” said Mills, who is a three-time NESCAC Coach of the Year honoree.

Mills and his staff have been hard at work since their final contest of 2015 and eager to lead the Purple and White onto the field this Saturday when they host Hamilton College for a 1:00 p.m. kick-off.

Amherst and Hamilton last met in 2013 with the Purple and White claiming a 23-7 win in Clinton, New York. Amherst defeated Hamilton one year earlier at home behind a pair of touchdown passes by Max Lippe.

If the Purple and White are going to be successful this season, they’ll need to lean on their defense, which limited opponents to roughly 10 points per game last fall.

Additionally, Amherst will need its rushing attack to be at its best too.

Last season, the Purple and White led the conference in rushing yards (1,612), thanks to Kenny Adinkra, who caped his four-year career with a career-best 504 yards on the ground.

Sophomore Jack Hickey enjoyed an impressive first-season at tailback, rushing for 319 yards on 47 carries and two touchdowns.

In front of Hickey and the halfbacks will be senior quarterback Alex Berluti, who will be tasked with leading an offense that converted 27 of 31 red zone opportunities last fall. Berluti appeared in one game last season, but has tossed four touchdowns in his career, while rushing for one score during his initial season in 2013.

“Alex has worked hard,” said Mills. “I have seen tremendous growth (since he arrived on campus) and I think he’s going to take advantage of this opportunity.

“The ball has been thrown in his court and I am confident that he will be able to do to lead this football team.”

One of Berluti’s top targets this season could be his brother Bo Berluti, who appeared in four games last season.

In addition to Bo, keep an eye on senior wide-out Devin Boehm, who led the Purple and White last season in receptions (41) and yards (555).

On defense, Amherst returns five of their front seven from a year ago, including seniors Evan Boynton (56 total tackles, 33 solo stops, 4.5 sacks and eight tackles for a loss) and Parker Chapman (44 total tackles, 24 solo stops, one sack and one tackle for a loss.).

Behind the front seven will be a young secondary, however, Mills anticipates his linemen and linebackers should assist them, especially with getting to the quarterback, stopping the run or dropping back in coverage.

“I think we have a chance to be pretty good back there,” Mills said of his secondary. “They’re just going to be young, so hopefully those guys up front can take some of the pressure off the guys on the back end … Our philosophy is don’t bend, don’t break and don’t give up big plays.”

While Mills knows every player on both sides of the ball will need to execute properly to help Amherst contend for a NESCAC title, he also believes everyone must have a great day too.

“That is really the consistent message,” Mills said of his team’s so-called rallying cry. “We have preached it around here (for a while) and the kids have bought into it.”

So, what exactly is Mills’ outlook for today?

“Today is all about Thursday,” said Mills, “so let’s have a great Thursday.”

Noontime Minute: King To Set-Up GoFundMe Page For Horse-Collar Tackle

Oakland Raiders punter Marquette King plans to set-up a GoFundMe page for his horse-collar tackle from this past Sunday. (PHOTO CREDIT: Bleacher Report)

Oakland Raiders punter Marquette King plans to set-up a GoFundMe page for his horse-collar tackle from this past Sunday. (PHOTO CREDIT: Bleacher Report)

By Matt Noonan

The Noontime Minute is a short blog post on one topic that should be read in 60 seconds or less.

If it takes more than 60 seconds, our apology!

We’ll have more of these posts over the next few days, weeks and months, so enjoy the first of many Noontime Minutes.

As noted in various publications over the past 24 hours – maybe 15-20 hours to be exact – Oakland Raiders punter Marquette King is planning to set-up a GoFundMe page following his horse-collar tackle on Sunday, which stopped Eric Weems and the Atlanta Falcons from registering a touchdown late in the second quarter.

The result of the play was a penalty – obviously, because it was a horse-collar tackle – and instead of scoring a touchdown on the ensuing possession, the Falcons settled for a Matt Bryant field goal.

No fine has been handed as of this morning, but that won’t stop King from setting-up a GoFundMe page so he can receive some assistance from Raider Nation.

I am not entirely sure King will need a great deal of assistance from his fans, especially since he recently inked his name on a five-year, $16.5 million contract.

If you do decide to pitch-in (or help King with his fine), please let us know!

New England D3 Football: John Smith Shines On Friday Night, Husson Tops Dean, 43-23

Husson's John Smith rushed for a season-best four scores as the Eagles soared past Dean, 43-23. (Photo Credit: Husson University Athletics)

Husson’s John Smith rushed for a season-best four scores as the Eagles soared past Dean, 43-23. (Photo Credit: Husson University Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com 

John Smith rushed for a four touchdowns, Ellis Throckmorton registered 10 total tackles, including a quartet of solo stops as Husson University defeated Dean College, 43-23, on Friday evening in Bangor, Maine to claim its first win of the season.

Husson raced out to a 14-0 lead after one frame thanks to a Cory Brandon touchdown pass to Deon Wiggins and a three-yard plunge by Smith.

Smith helped the Eagles push ahead in the second quarter by capping a 15-play, 80-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run that provided the hosts with a 20-0 advantage.

Dean did reach the end zone late in the second session when quarterback David Curry located Justin White for a 12-yard score, which brought the visitors within a pair of touchdowns (20-7) at the break.

The Bulldogs continued to trim the deficit in the third, thanks to a 44-yard field goal by Jordan Colleary and a 97-yard touchdown strike from Curry to Shafi Harris, but Husson countered after each score, registering either a field goal or touchdown to secure the win.

Smith, who rushed for a season-high four touchdowns, recorded 280 yards on 39 carries, while hauling in a pair of receptions for 25 yards.

Curry completed 9 of 28 attempts for 228 yards and three touchdowns. He was picked off twice, but did lead the Bulldogs rushing attack with 16 yards on 16 carries.

Both teams return to the field next Saturday, September 24 when Husson hosts Alfred State, while Dean entertains Army Prep. Both contests are scheduled to commence at 1 p.m.

Noontime Top 5 D2 Poll: Assumption Secures Top Spot (WK 3)

Assumption College secured the top spot in our Noontime D2 Top 5 after an impressive first two contests. (Photo Credit: Assumption College Athletics)

Assumption College secured the top spot in our Noontime D2 Top 5 after an impressive first two contests. (Photo Credit: Assumption College Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Noontime Sports is happy to unveil our first regular season (Week Three) D2 Top 5 Poll.

Our D2 Poll is a part of our blog’s new coverage plan, which we are slowly unveiling over the next few days and weeks.

So, without further ado, here is this week’s (Week 3) Noontime D2 Top 5 Poll.

  1. Assumption (2-0) – Bob Chesney’s squad is off to an impressive start. Through two games this season, the Greyhounds are averaging 52 points per game. Can they keep this momentum going against Southern Connecticut State on Friday evening? We’ll find out.
  1. Bentley (1-1) – The Falcons enjoyed a bounce-back game against Saint A’s, thanks to a pair of touchdown strikes by quarterback CJ Scarpa, who concluded the contest 14 of 20 for 185 yards. Joey Piatnik did his job on defense, tallying five total tackles, including four solo stops and one sack. Bentley will look to keep things going at home Friday against Merrimack.
  1. Merrimack (1-1) – Following a tough opening day loss to Bryant, the Warriors rebounded with a come-from-behind win over American International. Give the game ball to quarterback Nick Davis, who helped the Warriors erase a 13-0 deficit en route to claiming a 16-13 victory.
  1. So. Connecticut (1-1) –Quarterback Robert Nittolo enjoyed his best game under center, tossing a trio of touchdowns, while completing 17 of 25 passes for 287 yards. Additionally, he rushed for a season-high 41 yards, along with one score.
  1. American International College (0-2) – Give credit to the Yellow Jackets’ defense, which was led by Azeem Cooper, who finished this past week’s contest against Merrimack with 11 total tackles, two sacks and one quarterback hurry. The Yellow Jackets are showing signs that they’ll crack the win column sooner than later.

Noontime Top 10 D3 Poll: Western New England Secures Top Spot (WK 3)

noontime-week-3By NoontimeSports.com 

The second week of the Division III football season is in the books.

So, for the third time this season – now, on our new-look website – it is time to present our Noontime Sports Top 10 Week Three Poll.

  1. Western New England (2-0 | Last Week: No. 2) – Competing in the President’s Cup this past weekend, the Golden Bears not only captured some hardware (they beat Westfield State, 55-7), but also compiled 529 yards of total offense (7.2 yards per play). Expect this offense to keep rolling when they head to Union this weekend.
  1. Amherst College (0-0 | Last Week: No. 3) – The Purple and White one more weekend away from beginning their title defense.
  1. Framingham State (1-1 | Last Week: No. 1) – A big second quarter by the Red Dragons helped Cortland State hand Framingham State its first setback of the season. The Rams have a quick turnaround – they hit the road again for a Friday evening contest in Fitchburg this week.
  1. Salve Regina (1-0 | Last Week: No. 4) – The Seahawks soared past Worcester State in week one, while the defense shined in an exhibition contest against Dean College. Salve Regina wraps up non-conference play Saturday when they head to Castleton.
  1. Trinity College (0-0 | Last Week: No. 5) – Similar to Amherst (and Tufts), the Bantams will kick-off their 2016 slate a week from this coming Saturday.
  1. Fitchburg State (2-0 | Last Week: No. 8) – Fear the Flock! Fitchburg State capped its non-conference slate with a dominating win over Castleton. This week, they’ll look to make it three in a row when they host Framingham State on Friday evening. 
  1. Tufts University (0-0 | Last Week: No. 6) – The Jumbos are one week away from kicking off another season – we’re expecting a big year from the Powder Blue and White. 
  1. WPI (2-0 | Last Week: No. 9) – One week after a dramatic overtime win against MIT, the Engineers offense clicked into gear rather early as senior quarterback Dan Eckler accounted for four touchdowns in WPI’s cross-town victory against Worcester State.
  1. West Conn. State Univ. (1-1 | Last Week No. 10) –Junior signal-caller Quinn Fleeting highlighted the Colonials’ effort against Union with a pair of touchdown strikes. This week, they’ll enter conference play against an undefeated Plymouth State squad.
  1. Becker College (1-1 | Last Week: NR) – The Hawks provided head Frank Forcucci with his first official win as the program’s head coach by holding off MIT, 17-10.

Teams On The Rise: Plymouth State, UMass Dartmouth, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Coast Guard, Curry and Endicott.